Meaning of “problem” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"problem" in British English

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problemnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈprɒb.ləm/ us /ˈprɑː.bləm/

A1 a situation, person, or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved:

financial/health problems
Our main problem is lack of cash.
I'm having problems with my computer.
No one has solved the problem of what to do with radioactive waste.
The very high rate of inflation poses/presents (= is) a serious problem for the government.
Who is going to tackle (= deal with) the problem of poverty in the inner cities?
[ + -ing verb ] Did you have any problems (= difficulties) getting here?
I'd love to come - the only problem is I've got friends staying that night.

a question in mathematics that needs an answer:

We were given ten problems to solve.
problem child, family, etc.

a child, etc. whose behaviour is bad

More examples

  • Traffic congestion in large cities seems to be an insoluble problem.
  • Her only problem is lack of confidence.
  • I've had continual problems with this car ever since I bought it.
  • Tiredness, loss of appetite and sleeping problems are all classic symptoms of depression.
  • Desperate measures are needed to deal with the growing drug problem.

(Definition of “problem” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"problem" in American English

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problemnoun [ C ]

us /ˈprɑb·ləm/

something that causes difficulty or that is hard to deal with:

Financing the camp’s athletic program is a problem.
He has a serious health problem.
I’m having problems with my in-laws again.

mathematics A problem is also a question to be answered or solved, esp. by reasoning or calculating:

math problems

(Definition of “problem” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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